Lots of people come into the obstacle course racing world through other avenues, outside of distance running. As such, this whole “carb loading” and “tapering” business is new to them – and they often skip it altogether. But… after putting in all that training for small gains every day, why not take advantage of these little tweaks that can make a big difference in your performance and enjoyment.
The studies are out there. Carb loading won’t help you run faster, but it will help you get farther. And let’s face it, in most instances, when running a marathon, the problem is pooping out, not running fast.
Carbs store water, so if you are a compulsive self weigher, either give yourself a mental high five when you gain a couple pounds or hide your scale. The marathon is a long journey, so having a little extra water on board isn’t a bad idea anyway.
I start carb loading 3 days out. The first day, I don’t obsess. I just try to eat less fat and protein and I end up eating more carbs. For instance, I usually eat oatmeal with raisins, vega, and chia. So I eat oatmeal with raisins. I eat dried fruit instead of nuts. I also hydrate little and often.
The next day I pretty much do the same thing with a little more attention to detail.
I’ll still eat fruit and veg since I know the fibre will be gone by race morning.
The day before the whole game changes.
I aim for 3-5 grams of carb per pound that I weigh. That used to be a total pain in the ass to add up. Now I just type what I ate in Livestrong, look up my macronutrient profile and do the math. Simple!
I wake up and do my shakeout run (20mins with some short bursts and drills). I do it on an empty stomach so that when I eat, my body is like a sponge. I eat a large carb breakfast/brunch. No fibre, no fat, no protein. Cereal, dry toast and jam. That sort of thing. If I haven’t hit the race expo, I go now. I wear compression socks and sit where ever possible (even on the floor in lines.)
I spend the rest of the day drinking coconut water and water. I eat dry corn or rice cereal and rice crackers since I find too much wheat hurts my tummy and is hard to digest.
I try to have dinner early and again, cut out all things not carbs. No spices either if course.
I used to try to hit my carbs without totally eliminating fat and protein. Either I ate way too much and felt like a balloon, or I fell way back of my carb goals.
One tablespoon of peanut butter on a roll just cost you 100cals. That’s 25 grams worth of carbs.
I feel I should tell you that this is far from how I eat most days. It’s far from healthy. But we don’t run marathons often enough for it to impact the total picture. And with all the training you did who wants a car with half a tank at an endurance event?